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Alleged online gambling operation targeting minors under investigation


Police investigating an alleged illegal gambling operation arrested and charged a young person at Patrick Fogerty Catholic High School in Orillia last week.

OPP Sgt. Matt Stoner revealed police received complaints about an online gambling operation, targeting minors and drawing clientele from local high schools.

"It is not a registered gambling site," Stoner explained. "Individuals were free to make bets on there, hoping that there would be a return."

Police say the charges stem from two threats of death or bodily harm after students were allegedly threatened over money owed.

The OPP's Major Crimes Unit is leading the investigation.

"We're still looking into how bets were placed and if payments were made on either end placed into the system or on a payout system," Stoner added.

Following the arrest, Patrick Fogarty's principal sent a letter home to parents, writing in part, "As part of our safe hallways provisions, we were able to ensure all students and staff remained behind closed doors during this time. At no time was student or staff safety at risk."

The school board issued a statement on Monday, noting families are encouraged to talk with students and report any relevant information to the authorities.

The board noted, "The school is also providing support to any students who may have fallen victim to this online gambling operation."

Meredith Fryia, with the Addiction Program at the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Simcoe County, weighed in on online gaming and its impacts on young people's well-being.

"One of the things that we know is that youth are very suspectable to online gaming."

Fryia said CMHA receives lots of online gambling referrals for youths seeking support.

"We know that those risks are there for online gaming, so we know the risk is going to increase for online gambling as well," she concluded.

Police say the investigation is in its early stages and are asking anyone with knowledge about the alleged gambling operation to come forward. Top Stories

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